Need a Mortgage, Refinance or Equity Loan? Learn What it Takes, Before Applying

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Do you know what it takes to qualify for mortgage and refinance loans? There are several factors involved with qualifying for a purchase, refinance or equity line of credit, and having an in-depth understanding of these could make the difference in you being accepted or turned down by a bank loan officer.

Here are some things loan underwriters use in seeing if you qualify for a loan: your credit rating; your income; the amount you wish to borrow vs. the value of the property, this is known as loan to value or LTV; your assets; cash on reserve to cover down payments and reserve funds to cover a few months worth of mortgage payments, in the event you can't pay for an indefinite period of time; your employment history.

Most people worry about credit, even people who have excellent credit. Credit is such an unknown. Put your mind at ease. You can purchase a house with poor or no credit at all. In fact, with a poor credit rating and only 3 percent for a down payment, you can get an FHA loan. FHA is not a credit score driven program, so you can qualify this way if you have to do so.

If you have excellent credit, the lending world is wide open to you. You can put very little -- even no money down -- and still get a great interest rate. Excellent credit also gives you the power to take 100 percent of your homes equity at the prime interest rate, making interest-only payments, which is a very powerful thing.

Work history is also an important factor, as most lenders want to see two years of consecutive employment, although good mortgage professionals have programs that will get around this guideline. If you are purchasing a house, you'll need what lenders call "seasoned funds" for your down payment. That is, they have to be in your account for a set amount of time (usually 3-6 months).

When you are ready to get a loan, be sure you have assessed all of these factors, even before you mortgage professional does. Put all of the documents that verify your income and your assets together and have them ready to show to a banker, upon your visit. Be proactive and your chances of qualifying for any loan will improve.

Mark Barnes is the author of the new novel, The League, the first work of fiction, based on fantasy football. He is also an investment real estate and home loan finance expert. Learn more about his suspense thriller at Get his free mortgage finance course at

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